Quick Lit August 2021

From the publisher: "Ivan Doig grew up in the rugged wilderness of western Montana among the sheepherders and denizens of small-town saloons and valley ranches. What he deciphers from his past with piercing clarity is not only a raw sense of land and how it shapes us, but also of the ties to our mothers and fathers, to those who love us, and our inextricable connection to those who shaped our values in our search for intimacy, independence, love, and family.  A powerfully told story, This House of Sky is uniquely American—yet also universal in its ability to awaken a longing for an explicable past."
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I first gushed about this to the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club in our Best Books of the Summer 2021 event. This was the Georgian novel that I didn't know my life was missing. I listened to it on audio, somewhat begrudgingly. Several people had told me it was really amazing, but golly it's long at 1000+ pages. I plunged in, hoping I wouldn't regret it. And very quickly could not wait to find out what happened next in these peoples' lives. It's a generational story, tracking 100 years in a Georgian family who fan out across Europe and the world as they seek to run from the horrors of what's unfolding in the Soviet Union. The family also has a magical chocolate recipe that they mix up at opportune moments—whether it's a blessing or a curse remains to be seen for the 95 or so years. The ending is amazing.
From the publisher: "Jackson James follows the rules. He’s a sheriff's deputy in a super small town with a super big personality. However, strict adherence to the law during the day has been enjoyably balanced by rakish rules at night. Jackson, typically happy to protect and serve (and serve, and serve), starts questioning the value of wayward evenings when getting laid starts to feel more like being waylaid. Could it be that Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor longs for something (and someone) real? Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. But when 'generous offers' begin to feel more like excessive demands, years of always leaving has the elusive starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting. When Raquel abruptly returns to the quirky Tennessee hamlet, her path crosses with the delectable deputy with whom she spent one unforgettable night. Raquel and Jackson must decide which is more important: following their rules? Or, at long last, finding something real."
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Mary Lawson is a new favorite author of mine; I found her work through my husband Will, who just happened to pick up her award-winning debut <a href="https://modernmrsdarcy.com/291-episode/" target="_blank" >Crow Lake</a> at our favorite local used book sale. He loved it, and passed it to me. Now I'm making my way through everything she's written—and was thus delighted to discover that not only does she have a new book out, but it was longlisted for the Booker Prize! This short novel examines disappointed hopes and disappointing families, and ponders how through love, forgiveness, and friendship we might patch together a meaningful life and grasp a glimmer of redemption. Highly recommended for fans of <a href="https://modernmrsdarcy.com/books/ordinary-grace/" target="https://modernmrsdarcy.com/books/ordinary-grace/" target="_blank" >Ordinary Grace</a>.
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From the publisher: "In the summer after graduating from college, Suleika Jaouad was preparing, as they say in commencement speeches, to enter 'the real world.' She had fallen in love and moved to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a war correspondent. It started with an itch—first on her feet, then up her legs, like a thousand invisible mosquito bites. Then a trip to the doctor and, a few weeks shy of her twenty-third birthday, a diagnosis: leukemia, with a 35 percent chance of survival. She would spend much of the next four years in a hospital bed, fighting for her life and chronicling the saga in a column for The New York Times. When Jaouad finally walked out of the cancer ward—after countless rounds of chemo, a clinical trial, and a bone marrow transplant—she was, according to the doctors, cured. Jaouad embarked—with her new best friend, Oscar, a scruffy terrier mutt—on a 100-day, 15,000-mile road trip across the country. What she learned on this trip is that the divide between sick and well is porous, that the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms throughout our lives."
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From the publisher: "Dear stranger… A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met—a choice that will forever change both their lives. My heart goes out to you, David. Even though I do not know you... The correspondence between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer reveals, piece by piece, the painful details of a devastating affair between their spouses. With each commiserating scratch of the pen, they confess their fears and bare their souls. They share the bewilderment over how things went so wrong and come to wonder where to go from here."
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From the publisher: "A rediscovered classic and international best seller that recounts the gripping tale of a friendship destroyed at the hands of Nazi Germany. In this searing novel, Kathrine Kressmann Taylor brings vividly to life the insidious spread of Nazism through a series of letters between Max, a Jewish art dealer in San Francisco, and Martin, his friend and former business partner who has returned to Germany in 1932, just as Hitler is coming to power. Originally published in Story magazine in 1938, Address Unknown became an international sensation. Credited with exposing the dangers of Nazism to American readers early on, it is also a scathing indictment of fascist movements around the world and a harrowing exposé of the power of the pen as a weapon. A powerful and eloquent tale about the consequences of a friendship—and society—poisoned by extremism, Address Unknown remains hauntingly and painfully relevant today."
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